Saturday, March 7, 2015

Kent Hovind Trial Day 4 Eric Hovind The Good Steward Testifies

Kent Hovind is one of the leading lights in the field of Young Earth Creationism, the notion that there is scientific evidence for a hyper-literal reading of the Book of Genesis. YEC implies that the world is roughly 6,000 years old and dinosaurs and humans must have co-existed.  Nearing the end of a long sentence for tax related crimes, Hovind finds himself on trial this week for fraud and contempt of court related to filings on properties seized in connection with his first conviction.  His co-defendant Paul John Hansen was the trustee of Creation Science Evangelism, Hovind's ministry. Hansen challenges the authority of the government in many areas, including the right to bring him to trial in the federal court in Pensacola.  

Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media was there for Day 4 of the trial as the Government did not quite wrap up its case.

Today was in effect the last day that Government had to make its case, with a loose end or two left for Monday morning.  There were revelations and some high drama.

First, it became clear that if Hansen and Hovind had granted more stipulations, it would have been a vastly quicker and less expensive trial.

Stipulations, as defined, per the Free Dictionary, as…

An agreement between attorneys that concerns business before a court and is   designed to simplify or shorten litigation and save costs.  During the courseof a  civil lawsuit, criminal proceeding, or any other type of litigation, the opposing attorneys may come to an agreement about certain facts and issues.
What this means that it is conceivable that the parade of authentication experts, filing clerks, digital contraband correctional officers and others that poured into Pensacola at taxpayer expense could have been greatly diminished had Hansen and Hovind verified a few filings and signatures. These out of towners were not that happy either. Many, like myself, had experienced multi-day weather delays in getting to Pensacola. Rather than finding relief from harsh winters in the mid-west or wherever they came from they encountered a chilly, foggy paradise, and stale danish in the Marriott Courtyard. Plus  Pensacola residents largely indifferent or eager to distance themselves from an old scandal involving the IRS.

Eric Hovind was the star witness, called by the prosecution yet seeming mostly benefiting the defense, though it was hard to tell. He held his composure with ease, although I could feel him wince when Schneider, ( the IRS criminal investigation agent who astounded us with the volume of emails and letters he was obliged to review and excerpt while remaining fetchingly charming in the face of it all ) presented emails from Eric's personal accounts as evidence.

You heard right. His personal account.  Emails marked super-confidential and “dad”. The government, with a court order, had handily obtained all the emails for the relevant months needed in their case and reached into the private sector as the Federal Bureau of Prisons claims to run out of hard drive space every six months and erase all the digital calls and emails generated by  federal convicts.

So when the prosecution had to rewind to March, 2012 they got a big fat Drop Box full of emails from MSN and a giant thumb drive from Google, containing the entire email accounts for that period associated with Eric Hovind, Paul John Hansen ( or at least one of his many email accounts) Paul Dublin, who actually used his wife’s email account, Marlissa Jewell Dublin, Hovind’s daughter. Kent Hovind “Junior” somehow escaped the narrative. Perhaps that computer forensics team will be freed up to find the balance of Lois Lerner's e-mails now that they have played their part in the Hovind drama.

Getting back to Eric Hovind’s testimony, it was delivered by the perfect picture of a loving son who is athletic, handsome, and connected. Every bit the instantly likable Christian hipster businessman, The kind of guy you want to go play golf with even if you don’t play golf.  Still following a spiritual beacon while shrewd enough to keep the ministry going, transfer assets without his father knowing for two years, protect the fiscal health of his mom and siblings, and legally extend his occupancy years after the forfeit order so he and his family members might live rent free in various houses. Eric was collecting rent from tenants which he plowed back into renovations and generating savings to buy back the house he and his immediate family had been living in for forty thousand dollar free of any civil or IRS liens.

Eric Hovind exclaimed, after realizing the content of some of the emails that had been read aloud in the courtroom “welcome to my family” and email “to the world”.  One could argue that his father’s actions, through his liens and constant filings, deliberately or not, managed to win his son a few years to sock away money for a down payment and live off the fat of the land for a spell. In fact, despite the fierce father-son battles over control of the ministry and its brand, the mutual betrayals and blatant power struggles, I caught an unmistakable “ look” from the usually placid Hovind in his son’s direction as his son was rocking the jury . He is proud of his son and loves him. So even if Hovind loses this trial and spends more time in lock-up, today he was winning when his son was on the stand and stole the show. Legacy fulfilled.

Some more acid revelations. The total value of the property the government sold and the fifty thousand plus garnered from a bank account almost pays off the criminal forfeiture from his 2006 conviction short 40 or 50 thousand depending on how you calculate it. Kent Hovind, still has a civil liability for income tax of over $3,000,000, which as far as we know, IRS has not even started collection action on.  Good luck with that.

The evidence presented today was the most damning, though there was less of it. We heard, out loud, as witnesses read the documentation trail, in their many voices but always with some collective hum, and sped along by the prosecutor who was spinning faster and faster as the day grew to a close, Instance after instance of fraud, intimidation, trickery and deceit.

Hovind asked Eric to compare himself  to Paul in the bible when he was ordering him to hold his tongue.  This in a phone call recorded just this February , and in the same call Eric bristled and told his dad not to be telling him this, not to be digging his hole ever deeper, and not to be citing Paul. Hansen, appeared ever more the con man, with his instructions to the Hovind family to follow his will as the CEO of Creation Science Evangelism and his veiled threats, boasts and con games.

Judge Casey at the end of the day spent five minutes addressing the Defense, especially Hovind’s. It was an intimate moment. I felt I was eaves dropping. The Jury had left and the Federal Marshals were looking as fit as always, but clearly suffering from having been that still, for that long, and aching for that cigarette or scotch, home & family.

The judge light heartedly limited the two defense attorney’s closing statements to a reasonable amount, kindly beseeching them to not go on for more than two hours, and suggested some homework assignments that they take on over the weekend. She distinguished normal and justified appeals, which Hovind had exhausted in her estimation soon after his conviction in 2006, and insisted that he had crossed the line between valid legal challenges and defiant actions which Hovind was now indulging in.

She discouraged,(and allowed the possibility that they could convince her otherwise Monday morning) Keith, Hovind's public defender, from indulging in the Cheek defense,

 John Cheek was a pilot for American Airlines who from seminars he took in the 1970s concluded he did not have to pay income taxes.  Cheek was prosecuted for tax evasion and failure to file a return.  The general rule that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" is relaxed, by statute, for some tax crimes.  The trial judge in Cheek's case told the jury that a belief in order to be in "good faith" had to be "objectivity reasonable". Cheek appealed that instruction all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled that instruction invalid.  Thus was born the "Cheek defense".

In his interviews, Kent Hovind usually refers to three tax professionals who sent him letters telling him that everything he was doing was "OK",  Those letters were something of a mini-industry that tax protesters created in response to the Cheek discussion.  Pete Reilly discussed the letters in some detail here.

 Judge Rodgers indicated that she might rule that lack of willfulness does not constitute a defense for the particular crimes that Hovind and Hansen are charged with.   She told them that she would present charges before their closing statements. After having been all but silent for days except to be polite, procedural, or coach the jury, she took back her courtroom in those five minutes and with it the case. She had been haunted by the Hovind case for many years now, and she was looking to end it.

Jonathan Schwartz is the executive director of Interlock Media, which focuses on environmental and human rights issues. Interlock production Faith In the Big House, on prison ministries recently aired on PBS.


  1. There is no prima facie
    Let me repeat, the legal paperwork filed through the legal system is not evidence
    There is no mail fraud, there is no conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
    There is no contempt of court

    Everything was filed legally... there is no evidence.

    This "filmmaker" if you can call him that.. has written an article full of retarded nonsense.

    1. *sigh* Kent Hovind and his friends were on notice from June 27, 2012, when the judge ordered the Paul Hansen liens dissolved on the remaining properties , that they were not to file any more liens without running them by the judge first. So what does Kent do? He files a lis pendens, using a Bivens civil rights case he filed in South Carolina. Of course, Kent didn't bother to see that case through to completion, as it was dismissed in January 2015 for failure to prosecute.

      And yes, you can be told you can't file any more documents with the court. Look up "vexatious litigant" for more information.

    2. Hey Erin,

      Kent Hovind already explained to you that he was told not to file any legal document on the property and did so anyway! That's the issue.

      Seriously, how dense are you? Even the prisoner explained the issues that are going over your head minutes before your above post:

      There is plenty of evidence of collusion between Hovind and Hansen. From the letters (like yesterday's postcard), emails and phone calls, it is pretty overwhelming.

      Also if Hovind thinks the judge will let him go on and on during trial testimony like he did during the 2007 sentencing, he's going to get a rude awakening.

  2. There is no evidence
    There is no evidence

    This entire trial should have never taken place

    It's a circus.. the ring leader is surrounded by a freak-show of criminals trying to numb the jury/snowball the jury

    There is no evidence people...

    1. Actually more than 100 pieces of evidence has been admitted into the court and it is quite damning.

      Kent Hovind is not only a brazen criminal, he is not smart. He filled out legal forms he was not allowed to and explained his intent on his blog.

      The result is a man disobeying a court order and saying he did anyway to stop people from getting money they had a legal right to get.

      I mean even the PNJ's title says it all: "Paper trail prominent in Hovind trial". At:

      I mean Hovind wrote: "Alex helped me file a "lis pendens" which
      stops all action on the property until the S.C. lawsuit is resolved."


      In addition to what's available on Hovind's own blog, I'd like to remind you that Hovind was indicted by a grand jury. That jury looked at the evidence and said the charges are supported by the recordings and documents.

      Hovind's lack of remorse and refusal to accept responsibility is going to hurt him big time during sentence.

  3. As the judge rightly pointed out, Hovind exceeded any reasonable appeals very shortly after his 2006 conviction. Did that stop, or even slow down, his efforts to thwart the legal collection of what he owed? We all know the answer to that question.

  4. I think the narrative above regarding Eric Hovind above further vindicates what I have been proposing for a long time; that Eric and the Hovind family needed to come out publicly and make their case in calling for Kent to repent.

    Shame on them for not doing so.

    Had that been more aggressive in privately and publicly calling for Kent to repent, he might have been home long ago and not facing more years in lockup.

  5. Hovindicators have gone to promoting the "no evidence" line as if saying it often enough would make the evidence against Kent and Paul go away.

    My experience, however, has been that when they are asked to come out, come clean and advance the conversation about that they will not do so.

    I have explained that I thought Kent's and Paul's own words were sufficient to convict them in my eyes and that additional evidence and testimony was being offered in support of convicting them in the eyes of the jury.

    I have asked them to explain if they were claiming there was "no evidence" that,

    1. Kent and Paul worked together (conspired), with one or more other undicted co-workers (conspirators), to affect their scheme regarding the property, and/or

    2. Kent and Paul used the mail (U.S. or other mail service) to transport certain documents related thereto, and/or

    3. Kent and Paul violated an outstanding court order in the process, and/or

    4. the above actions were criminal in nature.

    If any "no evidence" Hovindicator wants to discuss those matters, they are welcome to come out, come clean and advance the conversation, specifically, about their "no evidence" claim(s).

    I think it may come down to the typical problem with Hovindicators being frustrated in not being able to make the rules for everyone else regarding "evidence" as to Kent's guilt or the age of stuff.

  6. y'all take the moral high ground saying this man broke the law and never even consider the fact that the law is immoral/wrong.
    It was once illegal to hide or help the Jews during Hitlers reign. Maybe you should all talk about how immoral the folks were that ignored that law.